I am glancing back in time. Into the story. What should we call it? The story of redemption, of transformation, of healing, of hope—according to the beliefs of many about the narrative, those titles fit. For some it’s a collection of impossible stories, a mingling of other stories from other times and places, a drama without logic, but a good theory to remind readers to love and care and forgive.
As I read the story of Jesus again, I confess that to me the story really is of healing and hope, of redemption and transformation. A story about Him and them, about me and us. A story of sacrifice. Summarizing the segments of that story before we glance deeply at a few, I remember my first times hearing the story. From parents, from sisters, from church, from relatives, from teachers, from preachers, from songs, from illustrations, from art. I also remember years reading and studying and writing and teaching about the story.
Now? I want more than to know about the story. I want to grasp my tiny role in the larger story. Is that possible? The story indicates so. The story invites a nobody like me into the tale of history and dares me to come. To stay. To live there. Not a brief visit in a service held in one place on one day. A life.
And you? I believe these stories invite you there also.
So what should we do? Enter the storyline. Study the plot, finally detecting ourselves there; spiritually perceiving that story here with us in the now. This now. This moment.
Where do we start? Where the story starts, in the beginning of all. During the voyage of mistake-prone people. Wars and questions and confusion and silence. Jump toward the story’s segment of bringing a solution as Gabriel reports the birth of John, a future adventurer and rebel and leader who would work near the water. Read about Jerusalem, about Nazareth, about ancestry of Jesus—that Child to become a world changer, that One related to and promised by the Baptizer, that One these sentences highlight, really.
An interesting genealogy. History. People. Travelers, natives, doubters, sinners, saints, leaders, followers, rebels: all. Think of the stories within the story. Think about you. Think about me.
An announcement to young Mary. A time together for Mary and Elizabeth. An angel engaged in deep dialogue with Joseph about his sweetheart expecting a child and him knowing this wasn’t caused by him. How did they feel? How would we feel? Put yourself in Mary’s place. In Joseph’s place. Obvious proof declaring the impossible a reality. Trust triggered by an angel’s voice. The honor of selection coincides with the humiliation of public opinion. The unlikely happens. The unexpected elected. The normal routine of life interrupted abruptly never ever to be the same.
Let’s continue the journey with them. Bethlehem. A decree of Caesar Augustus and the birth of a Messiah as a tiny, needy, fleshly, baby. His skin? His breath? His craving for milk?
His eyes slowly, slowly, slowly opening to see a world that would have a very difficult time seeing Him as He was.
What did He hear? What can I hear and see and learn about my own cravings, my own eyes slowly, slowly, slowly opening?